Winter and Spring Birding in Southwest New Mexico at New Mexico Cabin Rentals
Explore the Natural Wonders of Southwest New Mexico Riparian Bird Watching
For passionate bird watching enthusiasts, amateur ornithologists or just someone who loves birding in secluded riparian areas, New Mexico Cabin Rentals has much to offer! (see Bird Watching Check List on Double E Ranch). Southwest New Mexico has a well-deserved reputation for birding. At New Mexico Cabin Rentals and guest houses on Double E Ranch you will find a wide variety of bird fauna found at 5000' elevation along the southwestern edge of the Gila National Forest region. Approximately 339 bird species have been sighted. Of these, 166 species are known to breed on the region of the Gila National Forest, 114 are more-or-less regular non-breeders, and 57 are considered to be casual or accidental. The numerous species of birds found is largely related to the diverse ecological habitat found in the Gila National Forest and surrounding regions which includes Bear Creek Riparian Area at New Mexico Cabin Rentals on Double E Ranch.
In and around the Gila National Forest, vegetation types range from spruce/fir forest high in the Mogollon Mountains to desert scrub and remnant grassland in the lower Burro Mountains. Small expanses of grassland are scattered in the higher ranges.
Generally, ponderosa pine is the dominant species at elevations between 6,000 and 7,000 feet. Somewhat higher, and in many canyons, is a mixed conifer forest typically dominated by Douglas-fir, often with Gambel's oak.
Woodlands of pinon pine, juniper, large cottonwood, sycamore and oak, in varying combinations, are present on drier sites throughout the forest. Riparian areas support rich deciduous or coniferous woodland and, locally, small areas of marsh or other open habitats. This great ecological diversity provides for a remarkably varied fauna.
New Mexico Cabin Rentals offers the perfect base for easy viewing access to a half-dozen (or more!) major riparian habitat types for birds and bird watching enthusiasts to enjoy. One exclusively private riparian area adjacent to nearly 25 square miles of public lands can be found at New Mexico Cabin Rentals. Good riparian birding may be found among the woods and hillside scrub that follows Bear Creek before it empties into the Gila River, the largest river in New Mexico. The bird habitat areas listed below are a short 20 minute drive from your cabin when you vacation at New Mexico Cabin Rentals at Double E Ranch.For a summary of birding sites in each of these unique habitats, a great resource is the Southwest New Mexico Audubon Society's locales page.
Things to Bring Along:
- • Carry sunscreen, water, bug repellant, a blanket, a hat and shovel with you at all times. Take a first aid kit, tool kit and spare tire in your car.
• Make sure you have enough gasoline to get to desired location and back.
• Make sure that you are traveling to the site at the desired season in order to see the desired birds.
• Make reservations in advance for any “by-appointment only” sites.
• IMPORTANT: Do not enter private property without the owner’s permission. Follow all laws, rules and regulations governing the use of roads and public areas.
- Remember the weather! New Mexico has diverse seasons. The summer rainstorms, strong spring winds and winter snowstorms can come with bad timing. In the warm sun remember to drink plenty of water, wear a hat and use sunscreen to prevent severe sunburn. Rainstorms and snowfall can sometimes make highways and roads slick and difficult to navigate. During winter snowstorms, chains are recommended. Dress appropriately and be prepared for inclement weather.
- Safety & well being:
• New Mexico’s altitude is relatively high and until you acclimate, you may suffer from shortness of breath or tire easily.
• Insects & Snakes: A bug repellant may prevent bites by mosquitoes and gnats. The majority of snakes that you may come in contact with will be nonpoisonous.
•Bears & Lions: Black bears and mountain lions are fairly common in many of the mountain ranges, however, it is unlikely that you will encounter them. If you do come in contact with them, do not run, stand upright, wave your arms in the air slowly and back away slowly. Do not attempt to touch or feed these animals.
Here is a sampling of some of the more popular bird watching areas near New Mexico Cabin Rentals:
- Gila River Bird Habitat Area: The Gila River is New Mexico's last wild river. Excellent riparian birding may be found among the riparian woods and hillside scrub along the Gila River. The Bird Area is located north of Silver City on US 180, near Cliff, on the Bill Evans Lake Road. Follow the paved road past the Lake turning and continue onto the dirt section 1.5 miles. New Mexico is a major migration route and winter range for sandhill cranes. The greater sandhill crane (G. c. tabida), largest of the subspecies, nests in the Rocky Mountain region (RMP). They winter along the Middle Rio Grande Valley from Albuquerque to Bosque del Apache NationalWildlife Refuge (NWR) and in the riparian area along the Gila River in southwest New Mexico near the villages of Gila and Cliff.
- Bear Creek Riarian Area at the Double E Ranch: Bear Creek has its headwaters in Pinos Altos, NM, just north of Silver City. It meanders through nearly 2 miles of our private riparian area and is home to hundreds of migratory and indigenous birds. Giant cottonwood and sycamore trees, piñon, juniper and live oak trees provide the perfect habitat! Good riparian birding can be found among the riparian woods and hillside scrub that follows Bear Creek before it empties into the Gila River, the largest river in New Mexico. This riparian area is located a short walk from your cabin.
- Cherry Creek and McMillan Campgrounds: Superb birding is found in the deciduous and coniferous riparian woodland nestled in ponderosa pine forest. Cherry Creek and McMillan are located on NM 15 approx. 15 miles north of Silver City.
- Fort Bayard Historic District: Various habitats of riparian, oak, pinon-juniper, ponderosa pine woodland and grassland areas provide diverse habitats for many bird species. From Silver City, follow US 180 south to the small town of Santa Clara and turn onto the Fort Bayard Medical Center access road. Pass the hospital complex by taking the right fork. Follow Forest Road 536 to the Fort Bayard Administrative Site Trailhead. Parking is 1/10 mile west of the junction of forest Roads 536 and 929